Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Jain Butter Chicken

So I just read this article by Zahir on Gujaratis and their food habits.  While I agree that most people here do not eat non vegetarian food, I really do not see how that is connected to the 2002 riots.

Yes, people here (including me) are vegetarian and don't eat eggs either.  While others might have religious reasons, for me (and a LOT of people I know), it is a matter of choice.  I choose not to eat meat.  My parents will not eat at a place which serves non vegetarian food.  Religious reasons and personal choice too.  Having said that, they do not look down upon people who choose to eat non vegetarian food either.

I don't see why people like my parents should be looked down upon just because they choose to lead their lives in a particular way? Oh, because you are assuming that people who leave a restaurant which serves non-veg food is because they are looking down upon your restaurant. Maybe they are leaving because they do not eat at a place which also serves non-veg - for personal or religious reasons.  If you claim that they look down upon people who eat non-veg, then aren't you being a hypocrite by looking down upon people who simply chose not to eat food at that place?

And I see how wonderfully the 2002 riots are brought in because it is Narendra Modi's fault that people here have chosen to be vegetarians since centuries.

Yes, riots were a bad period for us.  I have lived all my life in Ahmedabad and there can be no reason to justify violence of any sort.  But it would be unfair to say that only the Muslims were affected.  Hindus too were affected and so were people of other religions, beliefs and caste.  Why do all riots report specify religion, specifically Muslim? Isn't human life more important than the religion/faith he followed? 2002 were a bad period for all of us. Everyone remembers that.  No one remembers that when just a year before the riots, in 2001 when the earthquake struck Gujarat, the same people, forgot their religious differences and queued up to donate blood.  Why doesn't anyone talk about that?

And domino's, subway, pizzahut - all opening vegetarian outlets - what is wrong in it? It is their business strategy to cater to the community of people who do not eat at places that serve non vegetarian food for either personal or religious beliefs. Why politicize the issue?

And who are these people who look down? If they are strangers, their views shouldn't matter, and if they are family and friends, then dude, it's your personal matter - do not generalise the people who live here.

Oh, and about the letting out of property - it is not something that happens only in Gujarat.

People need to stop making a bigger hero, or villain out of Narendra Modi than he really is.

Gaah.  Talking about it with Zahir in person would be much more fun.  Maybe if he agrees to join me for a cup of coffee. Oh, and I wouldn't mind Sandwichworkz either.

PS: I have heard of places in Ahmedabad which serve Jain Butter Chicken - it comes without onion and garlic.


Vishwa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vishwa said...

Well said. I find these skewed articles deplorable. While I understand that a vast majority of Gujju junta is vegetarian and mostly because they've been conditioned that way. What about others who've chosen to explore? My God-fearing, chaste vegetarian Gujarati Brahmin family has embraced my husband who is a hardcore non-vegetarian with open arms. Heck, they love me despite the fact that I WILL sample non-veg and even eat it if I feel like. There are so many topics to write on, eating habits of a community should really be the last one. Mr. Desai should've opened his restaurant in Delhi if he really wanted to cater to a meat-loving audience. Ahmedabad is not his target market. So it is a failed business strategy. Not everyone can sell swimsuits to eskimos, in fact no one can.

PS - deleted the earlier comment because I'd spelt 'chaste' as 'chase'. No other reason.

Anonymous said...

Good essay. But misses the point. Now listen. We all have heard of apartments where people with non-veg food preference are not permitted to rent or buy a flat. That is surely interference on individual's choice. And, many do look down upon others who have different food habits.

Chhi, fish khate hain; Chhi maas khate hain; Chhi ande khate hain. It is not in any one city. In chennai you will see the same phenomenon, where Brahmans look down upon others and their food habits.

Why differentiate about vegetarians being fussy about non-vegetarian food eaters; among non vegetarians also, you find people trying to sneer at others, chhi suar khata hai, chhi gai khata hai, and so on. So,in my view, Indian society is not based on liberalism and principles of equality. It is a hierarchical structure here, where communities claim superiority based on several factors, food being the most important of them.